Magazine article Screen International

Toronto: Peter Sohn Talks Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Magazine article Screen International

Toronto: Peter Sohn Talks Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Article excerpt

Pixar animator, director, voice actor and storyboard artist Peter Sohn - who was part of the team behind The Iron Giant, playing at this year's TIFF in its remastered and extended form - spoke yesterday in Toronto about his soon-to-be-released film, The Good Dinosaur.

Sohn, who's worked on such beloved films as Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004), said that The Good Dinosaur follows in the Pixar tradition of taking a "what if" scenario and bringing it to life.

"Pixar asks a lot of 'what ifs," Sohn said. "What if the toys come alive when you close the door? What if monsters did live behind the closets? What if a rat could become a famous five-star chef?

"Here, we ask the biggest 'what if' of all."

The Good Dinosaur imagines a world in which that fateful asteroid many millions of years ago just narrowly misses Earth, saving dinosaurs from their imminent decimation.

The film centres on Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa), a young dinosaur who, shortly after the death of his father, is separated from the rest of his family after falling into a river and getting swept away by the current. He eventually meets and befriends a human boy named Spot (voiced by Jack Bright), and they set offtogether on a quest to get Arlo back home.

According to Sohn, at the heart of the film is a "boy and dog" story.

"I love the simplicity of that type of story," Sohn said. "It's always about that kid who has a hole in his life and this dog kind of filling it."

In The Good Dinosaur, the "kid" is Arlo, the dinosaur, and the "dog" is Spot, the feral human boy who walks on all fours.

Sohn explained why, of all the animals he could have anthropomorphized, he chose the dinosaur.

"At the beginning, it was always about, 'Yeah we love dinosaurs!' he said.

"But for me, some of the themes in this movie about a kid who's stuck in his fear and trying to find a way to move forward, there was some interesting metaphor to the idea of being a dinosaur, and then trying to get out of that into finding out what he's made of."

The Good Dinosaur is set for a wide release in November.

The road to Pixar

Sohn began his presentation on a personal note as he reminisced about going to the cinema with his mother, who instilled in him a love of movies at a young age.

"She would take me to the movies and see these American movies with her. …

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